Making a Living or Making a Dying. You Choose.

Infected man dying in self quarantine

I always hated that saying “making a living” when referring to a job.

Are you really “making a living?”

Do you feel alive after work? Most people don’t, especially nurse practitioners.

Instead of feeling alive, you feel burned out, tired, anxious, and overworked.

Instead of feeling alive and taking life by the horns, you are catching up on charts, anxious over patients seen that day, tired of being taken advantage of and from being overworked, and you just want to lay down.

Instead of feeling alive, you feel like you are slowing withering away. I hate to say this, but perhaps you feel like you are slowly dying because you are either living, or you are dying, and unfortunately, we are all slowly dying year by year. So, rather than saying “making a living”, for many of us, it should actually be called “making a dying.”

Do you want to be living or dying? As I have said before numerous times, we only have a finite amount of quality years on this planet… Do you want to spend those in a job that SUCKS away the life from you? Do you want to be at a job “making a dying?”

Or do you want to have a career or job or business that GIVES you life? Something that gives you energy, motivation, excitement, fulfillment, satisfaction, purpose, drive, happiness and monetary compensation that you deserve?

Let’s face it, the conveyor belt of modern healthcare does very little of the above… Instead, it burns you out, increases your stress and anxiety, and slowly steals your life to the point that when you aren’t at work, you have no energy left over to LIVE. This is the main issue with modern healthcare, and modern work to be blunt.

Americans work MORE than any other western country in the world… No wonder why we are having a mental health crisis. We simply aren’t designed to work THIS MUCH. The nurse practitioner is especially not designed to be seeing the patient loads they are seeing.

I remember quite vividly the day I saw 30 patients in a 2-hour span working an urgent care shift. Granted, the majority of what came in was complete BS, but still the work was there, and it had to be done. That was the day I decided ENOUGH was ENOUGH. That was the day that I basically went all in on my practices and businesses. I was SICK of this job stealing my life. Taking away my energy. Ultimately, stealing my TIME and my LIFE.

I worked in corporate healthcare at various urgent cares and emergency departments for almost a decade. Before I graduated as a nurse practitioner and took on this new role, I feel like I was more alive. I used to be the “life of the party”, but this slowly disappeared. I don’t know where it went, but I know “making a living” was contributing. I wasn’t living, I was dying. My energy, my glow, and my life force were slowly being sucked dry. I knew I had to make a change. My soul was BEGGING for it.

That was the point where I decided to start my own practice. I know I could not keep “living” this way. There was no way in hell I was going to keep doing this until I was 65… I would have rather delivered pizza or been a bar tender. I wanted my LIFE back.

You know what happened? The first year or 2 during the practice startup was hard. It was an emotional roller coaster, and I was tired. But running MY OWN practice gave me back energy. It gave me back life. I did not feel like I was slowly dying when I was seeing patients in MY practice. I felt alive again. There was light at the end of the tunnel. The grass was GREEN, not brown and dry… I began regaining that “old Justin” back. But still, I continued to work at the urgent care “making a dying.”

After a few years, I decided to quit completely to focus 100% on my businesses. It has been close to a year since I made that decision, and I will tell you what… it has been magnificent:

I wake up filled with motivation and purpose, not dread…

I show up to my men’s health practice EXCITED about seeing patients. I can spend as much time as I want with my patients because it is MY business, and I don’t take insurance. I play by MY rules.

I see my medical cannabis patients one day a week. I get more gratitude and thanks from my medical cannabis patients than I ever did from urgent care and ER patients… I feel alive afterward.

I have explored hobbies and interests that used to give me energy again.

I have rekindled relationships from the past. I am more PRESENT with my friends and family.

I have very little anxiety anymore.

My neck spasms and pain have practically disappeared. The mind body connection is real.

Essentially, I have become a NEW person. I am LIVING now. I am no longer “making a dying” at a job I began to resent and dread.

If you are a nurse practitioner sister and brother reading this and the message resonates with you, then I urge you to step back and figure out how you can go from slowly dying to living when it comes to your career. What is it that you can do to change the tides?

Find a new job?

Start your own practice?

Make changes to your current practice so it works FOR YOU vs. you working FOR IT?

Possibly explore a new career?

I job hopped for years… It never changed anything. I would get a little energy back at first, but I would soon realize it was just another dead end. The career ceiling for an employed nurse practitioner is real folks…

I considered exploring new careers, but I wasn’t sure.

Instead, I started my own practice and regret NOTHING. I am no longer “making a dying”, I truly am “making a living” now. I feel alive. I am compensated well for what I do. I do whatever I want, whenever I want now. I am EXCITED about the future.

So, are you going to be “making a living” today? Or are you going to continue to kick the can down the road and slowly be “making a dying” until you are 65?

That decision is yours and yours alone…

8 Responses

  1. Thank you! I’m about 10 months in and still work in both the ER and UC to make sure the rent is paid and to pay back all
    the money needed for start up. It’s a lot of work and sometimes people like me just need a reminder of why we are doing this.

  2. “There was no way in hell I was going to keep doing this until I was 65… ” That’s exactly what I am thinking every day.

    1. Absolutely… I don’t know how people stay in this rat race the majority of their life. There is a way out, and it is called starting a business…

  3. This brings tears to my eyes. It’s exactly how I feel and after being let go it’s even more of a struggle to get moving. I’m looking for part time while I try to figure out what I want my business to do. I never want to feel like this again!

    1. This is a good plan: work part-time to bring in some income and get a business started part-time. It is the safest way to do it.

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